Five Funcinpec military officers allegedly involved in last year’s B-40 rocket attack in Siem Reap have been cleared of any possible connection with that incident, Funcinpec officials said Monday.
Funcinpec co-minister of defense, Prince Sisowath Sirirath, called a Sept 28 discussion between the officers and RCAF intelligence chief General Mol Roeup a “routine procedure” and said following that talk the case was closed.
“[The officers] are not suspects,” the prince said Monday.
Mol Roeup would not confirm Monday that the case against the officers is closed, though he did say he confirmed it to the state-run television station TVK.
The five officers—generals Lay Virak, Sok Thol, Khoun Roeun, Doung Sokhon, and Colonel Koy Mony—were ordered Sept 17 to appear for questioning before military authorities in Battambang town.
Two of the generals immediately responded with a letter denying any involvement in the incident, which has been described by CPP members as an assassination attempt against Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Two Sam Rainsy Party members already have been arrested as suspects in the September 1998 attack, which left Hun Sen unharmed but killed one bystander and injured three others.
One of the suspects, Mong Davuth, is a former Funcinpec soldier and alleged to have had some contact with at least some of the officers called in for questioning, Funcinpec Secretary-General Tol Lah said Monday.
“But there is no involvement on the part of Funcinpec,” Toh Lah said.
In their letter, generals Lay Virak and Sok Thol claimed none of the five had any contact with the two suspects already arrested or a third the government claims escaped after the attack.
During the attack, a B-40 rocket was fired at a motorcade carrying Hun Sen and newly elected parliamentarians. But some witness accounts put Hun Sen far away from the rocket explosion, and critics of the prime minister claim the attack was orchestrated by his supporters to justify a crackdown on opposition party members.
(Additional reporting by Im Sophea)